Review could be cathartic
This newspaper finds itself in an unusual situation — agreeing with former Premier Ewart Brown.
Recently we said that one reason the PLP lost the general election was because they could never successfully rid themselves off the persistent allegations that it mishandled public money, or worse.
As a result, this newspaper said an independent review of contracts and tenders would be helpful for at least three reasons:
l Where there has been mismanagement of public funds, those responsible should be held accountable, not simply because abuse of the taxpayers’ money is never acceptable, but as a warning to anyone in the future who may be tempted to abuse the public trust;
l Where there are systemic problems with management of public funds, these can be identified and fixed; and
l Where projects have in fact been handled well and honestly, those who may have been unfairly accused or put under suspicion will be freed from the taint of guilt by association.
Those reasons are sound, but the question is, should this review go back further than just the tenure of the PLP in Government? Certainly Dr Brown believes so — and quite rightly.
‘Everyone knows’ are the two most dangerous words in Bermuda, but there is no question that there were allegations of corruption, or immoral practices, before the PLP came to power in 1998.
The problem with a review of just the PLP years is that it could look politically motivated and vindictive.
A review that included previous administrations would be seen to be fair, if only because it could also exonerate those whose reputations have been blackened by the ‘everyone knows’ syndrome.
However, is there the stomach for it? Would the British Government want to risk having the reputation of another of its colonies tarnished.
Could it destabilise the country in the eyes of big business, or will they feel comforted that efforts are being made to ensure everything is squeaky clean.
If it happened it would be a long and costly undertaking, but it could also be quite cathartic and help to heal divisions within the Island.